August 2 Energy News

August 2, 2017

Science and Technology:

¶ An interdisciplinary team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation concluded that bacteria in a lake 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may digest methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, preventing its release into the atmosphere. The team published its results in the journal Nature Geoscience. [Laboratory Equipment]

Monitoring the WISSARD borehole

¶ The impact of climate change on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases could be greater than previously thought, according to research by the University of Liverpool. The study, published in Scientific Reports, is the first large-scale assessment of how climate affects bacterium, viruses, and other pathogens in Europe. [EurekAlert]


¶ Australia’s power utilities and grid operators, under threat from the world’s fastest take-up of home solar panels, are rushing to come up with ways to stay relevant and protect long-term revenues. They are starting a push to cash into the millions of solar panels on the roofs of homes around the country, rather than lose out on them. []

Solar array

¶ The monsoon season in India brings with it very high wind speeds, especially in the southern states. This year it has enabled record wind power generation in Tamil Nadu, which produced more than 5,000 MW of it at one point. The high wind energy generation forced the state utility to shut down 1,020 MW of thermal power capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ An analysis of Chinese development on the solar energy front from sector consultant group Wood Mackenzie finds that, when counting all planned and announced projects, solar power capacity will more than double by 2020. For wind power in China, Wood Mackenzie estimates capacity will increase by 40% by 2020. []

Chinese renewable energy (Photo: Stephen Shaver | UPI)

¶ The Indonesian Government plans to launch an auction for six geothermal projects in September this year. The projects will have a combined capacity of 255 MW and will involve a total investment capital of $1.02 billion. The auction aims to expand Indonesia’s renewable energy capacity, according to the Jakarta Post. []

¶ NB Power is proposing a maintenance project to ensure its 660-MW Mactaquac Generating Station can operate to its intended 100-year lifespan. The run-of-river hydro facility supplies about 12% of New Brunswick homes and businesses with power. The Mactaquac Generating Station began producing electricity in 1968. [HydroWorld]

Mactaquac Generating Station

¶ According to predictions by Eirgrid, Ireland’s transmission system operator, Irish solar power will reach grid parity in less than a decade, and this is despite its having no large scale ground mount solar currently installed. The prediction was in Eirgrid’s Future Energy Scenarios document, Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios 2017. [Solar Power Portal]

¶ Some of Australia’s iconic beer brands will be brewed using 100% renewable energy. This is because Anheuser-Busch InBev has committed to buy all of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025, including on-site solar. Anheuser-Busch InBev is the parent company of Foster’s Group and Carlton United Breweries. [One Step Off The Grid]

Beer, to come from solar power

¶ The Spanish government says it is closing the country’s oldest nuclear power station because of lack of support among stakeholders to keep it open. Production at the 46-year-old Garona was halted in 2012 when its operator, Nuclenor, objected to a new tax. Its board has failed to reach agreement on keeping the plant open. [PennEnergy]


¶ Tesla and wind farm developer Deepwater Wind plan to team up to create the largest project in the world that combines an offshore wind farm with large-scale electricity storage, the companies announced. The Revolution Wind Farm, about 12 miles off the shore of Martha’s Vineyard, would be able to store power in Tesla batteries. [RenewEconomy]

Block Island Wind Farm (Photo: Climate Central)

¶ The environmental impact study for the Keystone XL pipeline assumed that the price of oil would never fall below $100 a barrel during its useful life. Today, oil is selling for half that amount. Finding customers willing to sign up for oil shipments in 2020 may be harder than expected. And without customers, the pipeline will languish. [CleanTechnica]

¶ American Electric Power, which is based in Ohio, is applying for regulatory approval to build transmission lines for Wind Catcher, a massive wind farm under construction in Oklahoma. It will be the second largest in the world. AEP, once a leading coal-fired power plant operator, has a building program for renewable energy. [WKSU News]

Wind farm in Oklahoma (Invenergy image)

¶ The US government awarded $4.6 million in aid to retrain hundreds of Montana coal workers, many of whom will soon be out of jobs because of a partial closure of the coal-fired Colstrip power plant. President Donald Trump has declared that the “war on coal” was over, but coal industry workers’ jobs are still under threat. [Observer-Reporter]

¶ Utility customers in South Carolina may end up spending the next 60 years paying billions for two nuclear reactors that will never get built, based on a proposal that Scana Corp filed with regulators. Scana is seeking state approval to collect $4.9 billion from customers to cover the costs of scrapping two half-finished reactors. [Bloomberg]

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